Sunday, February 1, 2015

Chapter One - Can Photographs Change the World?

Photographs have the capacity to transcend politics, in the times of war, natural disasters and perpetrated crimes.  The written and verbal perspectives of media figures and scholars can at times diminish the causalties of victims. One of the below photographs by Jean-Claude Coutausse displays  Somali men running the opposite way a United Nations convoy is driving towards and the other photograph depicts a Somali boy protesting "against the presence of foreign troops" with two bloody corpses and a crowd dissembling behind him. As a native of Somalia and as an American, these two photographs represent volumes of irony in politics where causalities can not be ignored. Thus as Jonathan Klein has stated "images have the impact of touching people."



Photos by Jean-Claude Couture
Image Source: http://www.coutausse.com/#/photojournalism/somalia-1992/somalia-32
Image Source: http://www.coutausse.com/#/photojournalism/somalia-1992/somalia-34

Although the above photos have changed the world, Operation Restore Hope has traces of obscurity from our U.S. nation's standpoint as well as my native Somalia. Censorship is a great contributor to this obscurity as Ted Rall put it "Dead and wounded Afghans, Iraqis, Pakistanis, Somalis, Yemenis and Libyans have been expunged from American popular culture as well. Other factors are the 6 corporations which control 90% of the media in America" which "constrict the flow of information"
as Professor Nordell stated.

Operation Restore Hope began as a mission by the United States to assist Somalia in the Civil War, which was a war between two previously allied tribes that were responsible for overthrowing the Somali President, Said Baare.  However is it is necessary to revisit the history of the United States in relation to war to fully understand Operation Restore Hope. The United States of America is one of the most powerful countries in the world mainly for its role in wars since 1776 until 2011 and thereafter in “unannounced wars”, drone strikes. As a result its involvement in wars, the United States’ abundance of resources (food, clean water, shelter, hospitals, etc.) and security (border protection of land, marine, air and cyber security) exceeds that of any other developed nation around the globe. When the United Nations pleaded for humanitarian assistance in Somalia from allied countries, the United States volunteered. Finally Somalia had a beacon of hope to help bring an end to the Civil War.

The heroic attempts of the United States' to restore peace in Somalia would ultimately end as a failed mission. Hence, the above photographs changed the world by transcending politics and "showing man's destructive power over man" as Jonathan Klein stated.


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